A moment when sound seems to stop.


The memorial service for our friend was held yesterday. It went smoothly despite me having to write out some of the music from memory late the night before, and a few last-minute glitches at the Chapel.

In the evening his sister and brother-in-law from Australia stood us to dinner in the Britannia Room at Royal Natal Yacht Club. A beautiful evening and conversation and reminiscences flowed.

This misty morning was an instance of when all conversation ceases and even sounds of nature seem to be muted: a Silence of impressions while the ashes were scattered. The Indian Ocean seemed a fitting place, as joining the friends in South Africa with the relations in Australia.

 

Then we had a light breakfast overlooking part of the beach on the same stretch of coastline. We transported our visitors to the airport in the early afternoon. They only spent two nights with us, but by the time they left they seemed like old friends. Instant rapport.

© January 2018 Colonialist.
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Double Start and Emotional Moment


 

To Senior Primary first day, R,
And Primary, first day, J,
Already R has got quite far,
And J is on her way! 

It is with pride I see them steer,
Thus, further, as they may,
But cant avoid a little tear
How fast has come this day!

 

© January 2018 Colonialist
Posted in Africa, Colonialist, Grandchildren, Really Awful Rhyme | Tagged , | 13 Comments

The Abomination of Poultry Sacrifices


Saturday was occupied with more involvement on the two estate matters (I obtained a Death Certificate on the one, and traced and spoke to the Executor on the other), gardening, and work on jungle gym, as was today.


At least we gave ourselves a treat on Saturday evening, with a visit to the yacht club.  I had crumbed mushrooms and chips, and lots of beer. A good combination.

Wordle 334

No grain of truth in shady practices; nor sane;
Now January, the game with chicken taken
Should list, so all could figure and awaken
To gravity of superstition that’s in train!

This was a good opportunity to resume my habit of taking Wordle words in the order given, adding as few more as possible to make sense, and making the result rhyme and scan. It also provided a chance to hit at the despicable habit some religions/cults/sects/mentally-deficient-groups-generally have, of indulging in rituals involving living creatures being treated inhumanely, particularly during times of celebration.

© January 2018 Colonialist
Posted in Africa, Cultural Barbarities, Personal Journal, Rhyme, ritual slaughter, Wordle | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Mortality and Telling of More and More Tallies of Mortality


The year 2018 has decided to test our mettle, and this second week particularly so. Christmas cards arriving late (with our postal system, how should it be otherwise?) contained messages of gloom, injury and doom from some friends and relations.
Then, at the middle of this week, I learnt that a lady senior to me in years, whom I worked with for many years, had died. The first news we had of it was from a mutual friend who attended the funeral. The surviving sister is shattered (they had lived together as spinsters for their whole lives with only one break of a few months when one went to England alone). My name came up in conversation after the ceremony. She remembered me, having been my typist at work for a number of years, and asked our mutual friend (a wonderful cat benefactor) to arrange for me to call on her to discuss the estate and business matters. This I did and found her very frail and upset.
Then I discovered a worrying situation involving another friend of hers who had been assisting with arranging her finances, but was now apparently not wanted on the scene by certain parties. These had arranged for an attorney’s warning letter (warning at the start, anyway) regarding the fact that she was questioning certain financial activities, construed as impugning the reputation of the person involved. This then went on to demand, in quasi-legal terms, an impossibly large sum of damages plus legal costs.
I drafted a letter for her which warned the attorneys that their letter was riddled with inaccuracies and appeared to contain actionable intimidation. This letter, in turn, demanded a retraction of their allegations plus an apology.
Other deaths in this lady’s family were then the cause of moves by her husband and others which meant I had to send this letter chasing around South Africa to make it possible for a hard copy to be placed in her hands.
Now I am watching the situation to see if anyone steps out of line before the will is read and Letters of Executorship are provided.

Then, on Thursday 11th, we received a request to arrange for someone who had been employed in a firm managed by Younger Daughter’s late husband to be taken to hospital. We have ‘adopted’ him and have been assisting him wherever possible over the past few years, with free accommodation in back rooms at the home of Sister-in-Law, and with transport for medical visits etc, and making application for a pension (what a performance that was!) and with managing his finances.
As soon as I appeared at his door, he insisted on rising to his feet to shake my hand, as has always been his custom. I could tell immediately he was far from well, though. Obvious pleurisy was making his breathing laboured, and placing a strain on his heart — he had been warned that he should have a pacemaker. The ladies phoned for an ambulance while I helped him pack and gather his documents. There was no possibility of getting him down the many steps and to the hospital ourselves. So, we waited and waited. And waited. Eventually, when Brother-in-Law got back from work after three hours, Much Better Half and I came home. I finished the mowing I had started in the morning.
It still took over an hour after we had left for the ambulance to arrive.
Our friend was put on oxygen before being loaded, and according to S-i-L he perked up immediately.
After supper, while I stayed home with the kids, YD and MBH went straight to the hospital he had been taken to.
There they were given the news that he had died shortly after arrival in the Emergency Room. A sobering thought: he was nine years younger than I am. Little did I know that his handshake greeting, given with such effort, would also turn out to be a farewell salute.

The driveway of what turned out to be his final home.

Relatives are in Australia, so we had to handle matters.

On Friday 12th I called in undertakers and we went to the hospital and spent a number of hours filling in documents to the best of our ability, and I formally identified the deceased. YD got hold of the sister in Australia who decided to fly here on Thursday which means the funeral needed to be organised for next Friday. We will put her and husband up.
Then I went to the undertakers to complete further formalities in regard to cremation and the memorial service. In between this lot I had builders visit regarding the completion of unfinished bits around the house we have been awaiting for a year or so. This will be a Blessing (literally, as being the name of his assistant who will do most of the work). My mind wasn’t fully on the instructions I gave …
Finally, I completed platform two on the jungle gym.

To end 12th I have a message to again visit the surviving sister mentioned in the part at the beginning of this post. I will have to try for tomorrow. Now what? And, what next?

© January 2017 Colonialist
Posted in Africa, Personal Journal | Tagged , , | 29 Comments

Supermoon as Clark Kent; Raining Cats and Wolves.


 

 

The best with supermoons I do

Is make them seem as if they’re new!

Although this one did last week sneak

From all the clouds, the briefest peek;

We also had a stack of rain;

Good, that —  it’s filled my pool again, 

Though that is falling all to bits,

So out we goes and new one gits

To act as spares; so hard to get

All sep/rate; whole is better bet! 

Though where the water bit will go

Replacing lining, I don’t know: 

We’ll have to send it down the drain

And wait for it to rain again!

That stage, thank heaven, is not yet,

More wear from present one we’ll get.

(These are our pool inspectors who

Right now have better things to do.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is time for Rufus to chip in

With wolf who makes an awful din,

Owl dines on mouse all down below

The ‘Owler’ of the day to show:

Really Awful RUFUS cartoon Jan 2018 2

© January 2018 Colonialist
Posted in Africa, Humorous rhyme, Wordplay | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Two New Years and ET


It has been quite a while since I have written a short story, as I was reminded by the local publication of ‘Mercury Silver’  last month which includes three of mine.  I challenged myself to deliver another short-short one (under 1000 words) based on New Year, and wrote it in the early hours of January 4th:

(The’golf club’ is actually Rawdons Hotel in the Natal Midlands.)

 ‘Oh, don’t be such a stick-in-the mud. Come with me and Alex to see the New Year in at the Club like we did last year,’ Celeste bubbled.

Linda scowled at her. ‘I hate New Year and I hate the golf club,’ she burst out with uncharacteristic venom.

‘You still won’t say anything about last year, even to me, your best friend. I’m not stupid.’ Celeste looked at her watch and started to get up. ‘I take it you were dumped by that dishy Reg bloke you’d been going out with. So what? Lots of other fish in the sea. Even now, it’s not too late to throw out some hooks for this evening.’

‘There aren’t any other fish,’ Linda said, so under her breath that Celeste barely caught the reply, and added again more strongly, ‘I don’t want to talk about it.’

Celeste sat down again. ‘D’you mean that even with the short time you knew him, and the lousy way he stood you up at the party, and then pushed off overseas a few days later and with never a word to you for over a year, you still have some feelings for him?’

‘I don’t want to t-t-talk about …’ Then Linda’s face crumpled and she burst into tears. ‘We even touched on marriage,’ she blurted out between sobs. ‘I thought he was of the same m-mind, but obviously that scared him off.’

Celeste put her elbows on the table, cupped her face in her hands, and stared intently at her friend. ‘Have you got it so bad that if he rocked up now with some pathetic excuse or other, you’d still want to pick up with him again?’

Linda was silent for a long time. Then she said haltingly, ‘I hate myself for this, but yes. Just for the chance to see him again for a while, and even if I knew it would lead to another bout of heartbreak … oh, if only …’

Celeste rose again and said briskly, ‘Gotta go, and you’d better stop mooning around like you have the whole year, and start doing stuff. Now, I’m not asking any longer: I’m telling you. Alex and I will pick you up at seven. See you then.’ Blowing a kiss, she left, ignoring Linda’s splutters.

For the rest of the day, Celeste wouldn’t take calls, and she responded to a ranting text message with, ‘C U @ 7’, so Linda reluctantly changed and was ready when Alex and Celeste arrived.  Ignoring her protests, they bundled her into the car and set off. There was little conversation on the way, which was strange because both her ‘kidnappers’ seemed to have a sense of barely-held-back excitement about them.

After arrival at the club, her friends shepherded her to the same table they had shared a year ago. Now, though, there were three already seated there, including two mutual friends who got up and moved away as soon as they saw Linda. ‘See you later,’ Celeste said, and she and Alex went off with the other two to the bar at the far end of the room.

The remaining man stood up and stared raptly at Linda. ‘Reg!’ she gasped, almost collapsing into the chair he held out for her.

‘Now for my pathetic excuses, darling,’ Reg said. It would have taken a great actor to project his look of sheer adoration.

‘I can already tell that they aren’t going to be pathetic, but fire away.’

Reg poured some wine for her — her favourite, she noted absently. ‘Let me pitch straight in,’ he said. ‘On 29th December last year I was diagnosed with early stages of Parkinson’s disease. I had been concerned about things like the trembling and twitching setting in. There was a bad bout when I got up that morning, so I went to my GP, and he managed to get me an appointment right away with a specialist.  Surprising, at my age, but even children can get it …’

‘I’ll stand by you, of course,‘ Linda broke in. ‘Don’t worry, I know just what to expect, too; one of my aunts had it …’

Reg stopped her with a gesture, and resumed. ‘I knew you’d think like that, being the lovely person you are. Of course, there was no question of condemning you to looking after someone gradually becoming completely helpless, but if I simply told you the truth you’d have insisted. After agonising over it for a couple of days, I thought it would be better to leave you hating me than tied, even if only emotionally, to a chronic invalid. So, I left the country but ignored specialist treatment. I knew it would only put off the later stages and I didn’t really want them put off.  What did I have to live for? As an incurable disease I wanted it to do its thing — but finally a colleague noted the symptoms and insisted that I consult an expert.

‘After a number of tests and questions from that doctor, and from others he referred me to for second and third opinions, it was decided I didn’t have Parkinson’s after all. It was another disease quite often misdiagnosed as that, called Essential Tremor or ET.  To cut a long story short, I was eventually given bilateral DBS implants — that stands for Deep Brain Stimulation — and that has worked perfectly with none of the nasty side-effects that sometimes happen.

‘I am now functioning without the horrible progressive effects of Parkinson’s, and without being doomed to that sort of downhill spiral. As such I thought that if you still felt for me what I do for you …’

At this stage Linda’s chair went crashing, and he was being soundly kissed, to a round of applause from the bar.

When they were able to speak again:

‘They were all in on this!’ she said accusingly, gesturing towards their grinning friends.

He gave her a sheepish nod. ‘I wanted to be certain you still felt the same way as I do, or whether I needed to stay vanished.  I asked Celeste, but she didn’t know for sure because you wouldn’t talk about it, even to her. She said she’d find out definitely, though, by hook or by crook. I could hardly wait to see you after she gave me the thumbs-up.’

‘Don’t you ever, ever, ever be so pig-headedly wonderful again!’ she commanded, finding with mild surprise that she was now seated on his lap.

                      © January 2018 Colonialist
Posted in Africa, Light romance, Short story, Writing | Tagged , , , | 27 Comments

Joyful Year Straight Out of the Box to You!


The view from the new Jungle Gym, and a New Year with magical weather.

Twenty eighteen see arrive,

And weve made it here alive

Except for those who didnt, quite,

But they wont read this here tonight;

And, for that reason. they dont count

In even teensiest amount;

Quite a few, I have no doubt,

Got here we could do without

Politicians, you know who,

That corrupt and selfish crew,

Perhaps with luck two oh one eight

Will see them all become the late,

Much earlier, it should have been

That they were taken from the scene;

But never mind, to favoured few

Who read these words, my wish for you

Is Happy New Year in extreme,

With more success than you would dream,

And at the end of it, feel free

To have another one on me.

(As a start to the new year

I have made a boob, I fear:

Previewed the above, but then

Didn’t press the ‘Post’ again!

By the way, the firework crowd,

Brash and noisy, rude and loud;

How I’d love, when New Year comes,

To shove lit ones up their … posteriors!)

© January 2018 Colonialist
Posted in Africa, Colonialist, Really Awful Rhyme | Tagged , , | 13 Comments